September 2019 Newsletter

Welcome to PSSI’s Update Newsletter

From your enterprise software experts at
Performance Software Solutions, Inc.

September, 2019

UpdateSeptember Edition

Back to school.  Back to work.  Back to helping you build your business.  And this month: What’s NEW in Software.  

As providers of business software and consulting help, we’re out to inform our clients, partners and prospective customers year-round about the tools, people and software we utilize to make you more profitable and efficient.

We welcome your feedback at any time.  You can call us at 877.273.2444, or drop us an email at

Companies Are Moving to the Cloud.  Here’s Why

The pace of change in the world of business software has been moving ever so slowly, inexorably, and sometimes haltingly… into the cloud.  But recently, the pace appears to have accelerated considerably.

Anecdotally for one, we’ve seen clients formerly reluctant to shift their software from a local, tangible, close-to-home server now specfically focused on moving to an off-site (i.e., cloud) provider.  The fear over migrating is diminishing quickly, perhaps never more so than with the continued news of Microsoft’s phenomenal success with its Azure cloud environment, where cloud adoption is skyrocketing by the quarter (and propelling huge gains in Microsoft’s stock, we might add).

IDG notes that 77% of companies now have at least one application in the cloud.  30% of all IT budgets are allocated to the cloud this year.  Manufacturers are experience among the greatest pressure to move there quickly (along with the tech and utilities industries), according to Forbes.  IDG notes that 49% of its surveyed firms are either currently migrating to the cloud or plan to in the next 12 months.

It’s worth noting that “cost cutting” tops the list of reasons for cloud adoption, according to a survey of 166 firms by Datometry (“new capabilities” ranked second).

Here are some of the top reasons provided by PrintVis, a server and cloud based provider of business management software to the print and packaging industry:

1. Cost: Most companies fall in the SMB (small to midsize) category, where paying via monthly subscription per user eliminates a lot of upfront costs and keeps TCO lower.

2. Flexibility: Subscriptions plans allow you to implement at your own pace, adding users and training as you go.

3. Security: Automatic backup to the cloud (e.g., Microsoft Azure) means your system and data are backed up and secured.  Setting user permissions at an individual level ensures your data is available even after a hard drive crash.  Azure is noted for its security, and it encrypts your data for added protection.

4. Support: Let the cloud handle your IT and infrastructure, giving you more time to focus on your business, analyzing and reporting on results, and taking meaningful action.

5. Mobility: You can work from anywhere, including tablets, phones and home PCs, while remaining connected and secure.  Real-time production data can be captured and accessed from any mobile device at any location, anytime.

The move is very much… on.

ALERE: A Few User Tips & Tricks…

PSSI has been implementing ALERE manufacturing software for over 25 years, and we still think it’s one of the best-priced, best-functioning software products you can buy anywhere.  Users appreciate ALERE’s flexibility over many other systems. 

TIW President Rod Hatcher reminds us of a few simple, useful tips that users should know.  Like…

  • A unique aspect of ALERE is the ability to configure products to meet customer preferences. A single bill of material can be used to support hundreds of permutations of an item. This significantly reduces engineering time, inventory mistakes, and smooths the sales process.  So, in the upcoming ALERE v15.0 a new report, called Configuration Usage, has been introduced.  This report is designed to provide you with information on how many ways an item was configured, the numbers built, and what features and options were chosen by customers. Use it to nalyze choices customers make, manage inventory levels, guide product development, suggest new features and options, even set marketing priorities.  Combine the Configuration Usage report with the existing Option Usage report to reach a fuller understanding of product trends.
  • The humble Done button. This dual use button is used for closing fully completed orders as well closing orders which are partially complete but whose lifecycle has reached its end, which would usually require some fiscal or inventory related gymnastics to accomplish.  However, ALERE was built with a focus on day to day usability by real world organizations where these situations present themselves.  The Done button is available on all sales module and purchase order documents, service tickets and work orders.  When a sales order is manually marked done, ALERE prompts the user to deallocate all the remaining inventory on the sales order which has not yet been shipped and invoiced. For a sales invoice, ALERE will prompt the user to write off any remaining balance to a variance account, allowing users to easily close under invoices and track the variance.  For work orders, ALERE will prompt the user to either post the finished good quantity to inventory, and return unused material to stock, or post an XQ transaction to reduce the in-process quantity to zero.
  • Forget (or need to change) a password?  If you have access to all the user login information this is a quick and easy job. Go to File > Maintenance > Login Options and look up the user record.  Check the box on the Reset to Blank option and save the record. The next time the user starts ALERE they will receive a message that their password has expired and they will need to enter a new one. This little trick can also be used if someone simply wants to change their password.

Want to Learn More About ALERE?

TIW has a 7 minute Manufacturing Overview Video on YouTube that gives a nice overview of what manufacturing software can do for you.  Click the link above to see why ALERE may be a great fit for your manufacturing operations.

To learn more, call us any time at 877.273.2444, or visit us on the web.

In this issue of Update

  • Why Companies Are Moving to the Cloud
  • Who Is PSSI?
  • Tips & Best Practices
  • ALERE: Tips & Tricks… Manufacturing Software Overview – Quick Video
  • What’s NEW in the Fall 2019 Release of Dynamics Business Central
  • Free White Paper: Software That Matters
  • Improving YOUR Warehouse: When a Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

Who Are We?

Performance Software Solutions, Inc. is a northern Indiana-based reseller of enterprise accounting, manufacturing and distribution solutions from leading brands including Microsoft, TIW Technology and Sage Software.  We have been serving the small to midsize manufacturer and distributor, mostly across the Midwest, for over 30 years with a team of business consulting and software experts that is second to none.

PSSI specializes in helping manufacturing and distribution firms solve some of their most difficult process and technology problems.  Though we implement software solutions (including Microsoft Dynamics Business Central and TIW’s ALERE), we are most tightly focused on people, workflow and process improvement.  We’ve helped hundreds of companies like yours over the past 30 years improve their operations, process flows, automation strategies and their bottom lines.

Need help with your systems?  Learn more at or call any us any time at 877.273.2444

Looking for some prudent advice before investing in software? Check out our Knowledge Bank.

Click any of our links BELOW for tips and best practices on planning for software…

The Evolution from Dynamics NAV to Business Central: A Primer
Smart Email Tips
The First Lady of the Internet

WHAT’S NEW? More NEW Features Coming This Fall to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central (formerly “Dynamics NAV”)… 

Among the most recently announced new Dynamics 365 Features (we’ve cherry-picked just a few of the most interesting from the many new features coming)…

  • Add links to your Navigation menu: Bookmark a link to any page in Business Central, and add the link to the navigation menu of your Home page.

  • Enhancements to Excel IntegrationWhen the user selects the Edit in Excel action from a list page, most filters set on the list page are applied to the list when it is exported to Excel. This also enables publishing changes back into Business Central from a filtered list of records in Excel. Additionally, the number of fields available for reading and publishing edits from Excel is expanded.


  • Personalizing Navigation and the Role Centers: For NAVIGATION: Moving menu items to another position within the same or a different group… Moving menu item groups to another position… Hiding menu items or entire groups… Clearing your personalization, effectively returning the Role Center to its original navigation menu layout.  For ROLE CENTERS: Moving actions to another position within the same or different group… Moving action groups to another position… Hiding actions or entire groups of actions… Clearing action personalization, effectively returning the Role Center to its original action layout.


  • Saving and personalizing List ViewsUsers will be able to save their list filters and similar personalizations to create different ways of slicing their data. List views are given a name, such as “Items I sell,” and might include: Filters on totals and dimensions… Filter tokens (such as %MyCustomers) to dynamically filter to the right data… Different sorting to allow more complex and tailored views of a list.


  • Customize a user profile without writing code: Make modest changes to a profile like adding, editing or removing a profile in Business Central, get more detailed overviews of your profiles, leverage the rich capabilities of the designer to make lightweight profile changes.


  • Faster and more agile data entry: Business Central greatly accelerates repetitive data entry in lists through a combination of productivity features, raw performance, and a responsive experience.

These are just a few of coming new enhancements to BC365 release 2019.

Thinking about integrating Dynamics 365 into your business?  Or just have questions about the process, or need advice and recommendations?  Call us any time at 877.273.2444, or visit us on the web.

We’re here to help!

Click HERE to read our popular white paper “Software That Matters” on the ins and outs of purchasing an ERP System.

Your Warehouse: When a Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

This is the first in a series of articles from PSSI’s Larry Lukasik on how to look at your warehouse, and how doing so can improve your inventory accuracy and your bottom line.

One of the simplest ways to leverage your ERP tools is to start with accurate data.  With accurate data, users can be more productive, business decisions can be improved, and system automation can be enhanced to provide improved customer service and product availability at lower cost.

Two of the key areas for data integrity are supply and demand numbers for your inventory.  On the demand side, we have customer orders, finished goods production orders and reorder/safety stock triggers.  On the supply side we have inventory, component production orders and purchase orders.

In visiting manufacturing/distribution companies for over 40 years, I have found a common theme relative to these numbers.  Sales/purchase/production orders and reorder/safety stock numbers are typically valid in the ERP system.  Inventory numbers however are frequently questionable.  Purchasing/Production.

Planners almost always lament the amount of time they spend re-planning and expediting/de-expediting because of inventory surprises.  Why is it so hard to get these numbers accurate and maintain them?

I would like to share some quick insights with you relative to inventory accuracy.  Having had the opportunity to walk through many warehouses in many industries there are some common themes that quickly identify if an operation is likely to have inventory accuracy problems.

  • Housekeeping – As basic as this sounds, a messy warehouse is almost always likely to have inventory accuracy problems.  Racks filled with broken boxes/pallets, aisles blocked with miscellaneous items, corners or floor spaces stuffed with cartons or pallets randomly staged are sure signs of poor discipline.  If the warehouse team can’t keep the place organized, it is a sure bet that they will not be able to execute procedures consistently.
  • Delineation – When walking a warehouse/inventory storage location, I observe how easy it is to visually identify storage/staging areas.  Can I easily tell which items have been received to inventory and which are waiting to be processed?  Are HOLD areas clearly identified?  Are items staged for shipment or delivery to the manufacturing floor clearly designated?  If I were a cycle counter or someone just trying to verify the counts in the ERP system against the counts in the warehouse, would I know where to look?
  • Labeling – In a well-run (highly accurate) warehouse everything is labeled.  Can I as a visitor to the warehouse tell you the item number of every box/container and the location it is in?  Can I see the item numbers from a floor location even if the container is on the second or third level of a pallet rack?  Are they legibly written in bold dark marker/labels so that there is no confusion on the characters?   Is that a “5” or an “S”… is that an “I” or an “1”?  Little things matter when you are trying to work quickly and accurately.
  • Metrics – There is an old saying, if you can’t measure it, you cannot improve it.  When I walk through a warehouse and don’t see any performance metrics posted, it is a clear message that accuracy, performance and service are not the key drivers of that team.

I invite you to walk your own warehouse/inventory storage areas.  What do you really see?  The picture you see will tell you quite a bit about the accuracy of the counts in your ERP system.

In future articles, we’ll share thoughts on some simple things you can do to get your inventory accuracy where it needs to be so that you can truly leverage your ERP system.

To learn how PSSI can help solve your inventory or other process & production challenges — just contact Larry Lukasik at 877.273.2444 any time.  We’re here to help!

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